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My son loves cars the movie and so he owns a number of their toys and this set is one of them. This runway comes preassembled so all you have to do is take a cardboard box from the bottom of the toy. We thought this was great as we have had many sets similar to us before that you have to put together yourself and they fall apart while in play but this set is very durable and in one whole piece.
At the top of the ramp way you have two cars characters from the film lightning McQueen and Francesco who are the two main characters and easily recognisable. Also at the top of the ramp is a lever that little one pulls down and this activates the revving of the engines and a statement from each character taken from the movie. Once this level is pulled down this also tips the starting bays and the cars are forced to roll down the ramp way and shoot out the bottom.
One race McQueen will say he is ready to take on Francesco and the next time Francesco says lighting is afraid of him and then the engines roar which is actually really loud and there is no sound level setting meaning it cannot be turned down. Also when we purchased this toy and tried sneaking it in at night time to wrap up there is no protection to the front of the toy or lever and the slightest knock made it go off meaning my son heard the noises coming from downstairs and actually woke up!
The ramp is made out of thick plastic and sits on the floor with no problem as it has a flat base meaning the toy does not tip over while it is being used. The main structure is made up of two different blues and red and this makes it stand out and look appealing to little one. All the details on this ramp and characters are a perfect match to the film so little one can recognise that it is a cars 2 toy straight away. As the toy is made of plastic it can be wiped down with a cloth and comes up as good as new which is always a plus for me as my sons tend to get everything mucky and this makes it simple to keep it looking new.
The ramp way is very easy to use and by pulling the leaver at the top of the ramp and releasing the cars the fun is over within a few seconds but all my children like watching them race over and over again. The toy is very simple and it is well loved it I thought after opening the toy that it may be a little short lived and hiding at the back of the toy box after a few days but it has proved to be a hit with them. The racers do provide different winners when rolled down and my son will play with this for around 10 minutes at a time and then it gets forgotten about. However he does reach for this toy numerous times a day and for that reason it has proved its worth and as it is very durable I am sure it will last a lot of play with no problem at all.
What I like about this toy is next to the characters pictures at the top they have the flags from their home countries so lighting McQueen has an American flag and Francesco has the Italian flag. Also half way down the track they have an Eiffel tower statue and big Ben statue for the racing cars to pass through and both of these also have the corresponding flags next to them. This allows my son to learn which flag belongs to which country while he is playing and relating it to a character so it makes it easily remembered.
One thing to note that is important is the normal size die cast cars will not fit at the top of the runway and even if rolled from half way down the track they become stuck in the statues built in to the ramp and so they are incompatible with this toy. I was a little disappointed as we had hoped when we purchased this toy to use it with his whole collection but we have found that the smaller cars in the Disney stores exclusive range of cars will fit down this track but again some of the larger ones will not.
When I purchased this toy it stated in the description there were compartments to hold the two cars when they are not in use which I thought would be handy as they are so small they could easily be lost. The compartments are actually two small cut outs of the plastic at the very bottom of the track and they are too shallow to hold the cars as soon as one of my children lift this toy up the cars fall out and we have found them at the bottom of the toy box a few times.
All my children liked this toy I did think it was a little simple after realising that the normal die cast cars that you purchase separately could not be used with this ramp but it has proven to be a big hit with them. There are minimal sound effects and the whole concept is very simple but the bright colours and characters help hold children's attention and allow them to use their imagination.
This is toy is recommended from three years plus which I do think is a fair age range although my son who is two loves playing with his older brothers toy. The need to position the toy at the top of the ramp and then pull the lever to release them helps encourage little one to use their fine motor skills and the colours and flags on the ramp also provide an educational twist while little one is having fun.
You can purchase this toy in most large toy shops and supermarkets and retail is around £25 although do shop around as it is often on sale at half price and I do think paying around £15 would be a better purchase price for this toy. I found this toy a little disappointing but my children love it and that is what matters so I would recommend this speedway ramp.